“Our contacts at the NCAA tell us that, due to their stance on HB2, all North Carolina bids will be pulled from the review process and removed from consideration,” said the letter from Scott Dupree, executive director of the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance, on behalf of the association.
The state could suffer “upwards of a half-billion dollars” in negative economic impact, the letter said. Counting NCAA events already moved to other states, “we will be faced with a six-year drought of NCAA championships in North Carolina,” the letter said.
HB2, signed into law last March, bans people from using public bathrooms that don’t correspond to their biological sex as listed on their birth certificates. The bill also reserves the right to pass nondiscrimination legislation to the state government, saying state laws preempt any local ordinances.
The economic backlash in North Carolina has been severe.
Singers Bruce Springsteen, Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas, as well as bands such as Pearl Jam and Boston, canceled concerts in the state. PayPal and Deutsche Bank said they would cancel plans to expand into the state.
The letter from the NC Sports Association said 133 bids for NCAA championship events in the state have been submitted for the period between 2018 and 2022, with those bids alone representing at least $250 million in economic impact.
“What’s more, in terms of youth and amateur sports in the United States, the NCAA exerts tremendous influence,” the letter said. “When the NCAA decides it will no longer conduct events in North Carolina, the Atlantic Coast Conference and many other sports organizations will surely follow.
“When compounding the effect of losing these additional sporting events, including hundreds of youth and amateur events, plus the NBA All-Star Game, we believe North Carolina could lose upwards of a half-billion dollars in economic impact.”
‘Nothing short of extortion’
The NC Values Coalition, which favors HB2, criticized the NCAA.
Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat who took office in January, called for quick action.
“There is no time to waste in repealing House Bill 2,” he said. “The bipartisan votes of both Democrats and Republicans are there for repeal if the Republican legislative leadership will just put it to a vote.”
But both chambers of the state legislature are controlled by Republicans, so it’s not clear whether Cooper will get cooperation.
HB2 was born after Charlotte passed its “nondiscrimination ordinance” in February 2016. Many state Republicans quickly denounced the measure which, among other things, made it possible for transgender individuals to use the public bathroom of the sex they identify as.
Then-Gov. Pat McCrory called the ordinance “overreaching.”
The legislature responded by passing HB2, which bans people from using public bathrooms that don’t correspond to their biological sex as listed on their birth certificates.
Bills to repeal HB2 have been introduced and placed on the Monday calendar for the state House of Representatives.
At least one other state may try to follow North Carolina’s example in passing a restrictive bathroom bill.
CNN’s Devon Sayers contributed to this report.